THE Australian Italian Festival is on again in the vibrant sugar city of Ingham from August 1-4. This is the festival's 19th anniversary, and it's shaping up to be the most memorable yet.
Festival director Donna Zanotto told the North Queensland Register that apart from the 'big hit' entertainment features of last year, this year they will be reintroducing a couple of other popular events from earlier times.
This includes a model search open to males and females from 13-17 years old sponsored by the Townsville Modelling Agency Rhonda's Final Touch. The entrants will have a photo shoot done by a professional photographer and the winners will walk away with a modelling course from Rhonda's Final Touch.
There will also be a hair and fashion competition. Fashion designers will be modelling wearable art, which means you can expect to see anything from garbage bags to thongs to be modelled as clothing. Designers will be showcasing their newest designs.
The local hair salons will be making up models' hair in the theme of 'Fantasy' in a hall decked out in the theme of A Midsummer Night's Dream and a local dance company will perform to kick the show off.
On the night of August 2 there will be a Coscer-sponsored masquerade dinner with music provided by Alfredo Malabello's seven-piece orchestra hand-picked from around Australia. The group Extraordinary Acts will perform throughout the evening to the theme of 'Fabulous Phantom' with scenes and songs from The Phantom of the Opera.
The dinner will consist of five courses with Italian food, wine and beer being served, and will cost $80 per person.
On August 3-4 the magnificent Ingham Australian Italian Festival Carnivale gets under way with non-stop entertainment from 10am until midnight with continuous acts on two stages within the Tyto Wetlands precinct.
There will be scores of food and variety stalls, helicopter rides, merry-go-rounds, ravioli and pizza-eating competitions, grape stomping and even a txingas competition, where contestants carry lead weights around a circuit and see how many laps they can do before they have to drop the weight. The Ingham Art Society will have a display containing historical depictions of the early cane cutting days.
Jake and Elle from My Kitchen Rules will be there giving cooking lessons and Danni Da Ros, a finalist from The Voice will entertain.
But that's not all: the tenor Paul Tabone will be flying out from Italy for the festival and the Sydney dance group, Dolce, will be performing traditional Italian folk dances, and the Mareeba choir, the 32 strong Tableland International Singers will also perform.
There will also be a "Kids Korner" with qualified child carers on hand.